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Caryophyllene From Cannabis — Benefits, Safety, & Uses

Caryophyllene is a terpene found in cannabis as well as a variety of other plants and herbs.

So, what makes it different from others?

Article By
Daily CBD , last updated on October 29, 2021

Caryophyllene is a one-of-a-kind terpene with a distinct “spicy” aroma. It’s commonly found in black pepper and can be identified as that signature “peppery” scent.

Caryophyllene has the unique ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system in a similar way as THC. It may provide several benefits to health, and some evidence suggests it may offer benefits towards diabetes and metabolic disorders (unconfirmed).

In this article, we’ll be looking at caryophyllene in-depth and filling you in on how it tastes, its potential benefits, and when to consider using it.

What is Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene is a terpene found in several different plants. It’s responsible for the spicy and peppery notes associated with strains such as bubba kush, sour diesel, and girl scout cookies.

A great way to identify exactly what caryophyllene smells like is to crack open some fresh black pepper. That sharp, spicy scent that’s produced is indeed caryophyllene. Caryophyllene is quite a common terpene and appears often in nature.

However, as far as terpenes go, caryophyllene couldn’t be more unique.

Caryophyllene contains something called a cyclobutane ring within its makeup. We won’t get too in-depth, but to explain simply, cyclobutane is a slightly bent non-planar molecule that moves hydrogen atoms away from each other, so they aren’t eclipsed in the same way as other molecules.

Cyclobutane rings are relatively rare in nature and are even less common in terpenes specifically.

This makes caryophyllene a particularly special terpene, but what does this mean for you?

Caryophyllene’s unique molecular structure allows it to easily bind to the CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system in the same way that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. The activation of CB2 cannabinoids may provide a range of benefits such as inflammation and pain reduction.

Plants That Make Caryophyllene

It’s not just hemp and cannabis that make caryophyllene. There are several plants that produce this terpene that are common in everyday items you’ll find at home in the kitchen.

Herbs that contain caryophyllene:

  • Cannabis
  • Rosemary
  • Hops
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Basil
  • Ylang ylang
  • Back caraway
Branch of hops (Humulus lupulus)

What Are the Benefits of Caryophyllene?

The ability for caryophyllene to interact with the ECS makes it extremely useful from a therapeutic perspective. Specifically, this terpene targets the CB2 receptors — which are most abundant outside the brain, in the internal organs, and on the surface of immune cells.

The CB2 receptor is primarily involved with the body’s anti-inflammatory response. The selective activation of the CB2 receptor has the potential to provide anti-inflammatory aid and immunosuppressive actions [1].

There’s little study into the effects of caryophyllene on the endocannabinoid system, but its interaction with CB2 receptors is well documented. This could make it a great alternative to certain psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids to treat localized pain and inflammation naturally.

One study suggests that caryophyllene’s beneficial properties may help aid people suffering from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) [2]. This feature is a core problem in people that suffer from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Is Caryophyllene Safe?

Caryophyllene is generally recognized as a safe substance that doesn’t pose a serious health risk. The FDA has approved this terpene for food use. However, the compound should be used with caution.

The main point of safety when using any terpenes in concentrated form is to always dilute them prior to use. Pure terpenes are irritants and can damage the eyes, skin, and lung tissue if used incorrectly. Always dilute pure caryophyllene to 5% or below the volume of the final product.

If you’re interested in using caryophyllene in the form of a concentrated extract, it’s important that you source the extract from a responsible supplier. Some terpene manufacturers use unorthodox methods of extraction and include other aromatics, chemicals, and carrier liquids that may be hazardous to health.

Our advice is to do plenty of research and don’t simply go for a supplier because of their individual claims or a “good price.” Be sure to check out consumer reviews and third-party lab results (if available) to ensure the extract is as pure and unadulterated as possible.

Once you’ve sourced a high-quality caryophyllene extract, start with a small sample to ensure you don’t react negatively to the substance. Once you’re certain there are no negative reactions to the terpene, you can slowly increase the amount consumed until you reach the recommended daily dose.

Where Can You Buy Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene is one of the more common cannabis terpenes on the market. You can find this compound from just about any of the major suppliers.

It’s extremely important to source caryophyllene extract from a trusted, reputable supplier. Finest Labs and True Terpenes are the best suppliers on the market at the moment.

True Terpenes is a good source of pure caryophyllene, but Finest Labs is a better option if you’re hoping to get an expertly crafted blend of terpenes — including, but not limited to, caryophyllene.

Related: Best terpene concentrate vendors.

Always check that the company is GMP certified and provides up-to-date third-party lab results for the whole range of terpenes offered.

One great feature we’ve found on websites like Finest Labs is some form of an effect profile breakdown. This profile provides information on the effects each extract provides, as well as a depiction of which terpenes are included in each blend and the expected aromatic profile of each.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are compounds found in many different plants that are responsible for aromas. Many of these aromatic compounds are found in cannabis but are also found in scented herbaceous plants such as mint, thyme, pine, and rosemary. 

These compounds are responsible for the scent and taste of certain plants. Scent (or aroma) is responsible for around 80% of what we taste when we consume food products.

Therefore, terpenes play a huge part in how various foods taste.

There are two main types of terpenes when referring to cannabis products. These types are differentiated by the source of the individual terpene.

1. Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Cannabis-derived terpenes are terpenes that are found in cannabis and hemp. These terpenes are responsible for the characteristic scents and tastes that certain strains produce. If a product says “contains cannabis-derived terpenes,” or just “CDT” for short, it means the aromatics included come directly from cannabis or hemp.

Some strains, for example, certain haze varieties, are high in terpenes such as limonene. Limonene gives lemon haze, in particular its citrus scent and taste.

Other strains such as cheese and other heavy indica dominant strains contain high levels of octanoic acid, which is responsible for “cheesy” and musky aroma.

Although the term cannabis-derived terpenes are used to describe terpenes found in cannabis, it doesn’t mean that these terpenes are found in cannabis only.

2. Botanically-Derived Terpenes

Most terpenes that are found in cannabis are also found in other plants too.

For example, pinene — a terpene found in cannabis that’s responsible for pine and forest aromatics — is also found in pine needles, juniper, basil, dill, and other aromatic plants.

Although the same terpenes can be found both in cannabis and other plants in nature, non-cannabis-derived terpenes are extracted from any source (except cannabis and hemp). If a product says “botanically-derived terpenes,” it usually means aromatics from other sources have been used.

There’s no difference between a specific terpene produced in cannabis versus other plants. However, there are different isomers of the same terpenes — such as alpha versus beta bisabolol.

Branch of hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Bottom Line: Caryophyllene, Should You Be Using It?

You should consider what you want to use the terpene for and whether it offers the potential benefits to aid your situation. Although studies into the terpene are few and far between, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests it offers a range of benefits for the right user.

Its specific interaction with the CB2 receptors located in the endocannabinoid system makes it a unique and especially promising terpene for people that are looking for inflammation relief.

When looking for a caryophyllene supplier, be sure to do plenty of research and select a company with an excellent background, a great reputation, and a transparent insight into the makeup of their products.

As with any terpene or cannabinoid, it’s important to consume a test sample to see how your body reacts. Once satisfied that there are no negative responses, you should slowly increase your intake over time.

References

  1. Ashton, J. C., & Glass, M. (2007). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor as a target for inflammation-dependent neurodegeneration. Current neuropharmacology, 5(2), 73-80.
  2. Hashiesh, H. M., Meeran, M. F., Sharma, C., Sadek, B., Kaabi, J. A., & Ojha, S. K. (2020). Therapeutic potential of β-caryophyllene: A dietary cannabinoid in diabetes and associated complications. Nutrients, 12(10), 2963.

Further Reading

Further Reading